Enjoy this wonderful Christmas Homily from Deacon Art Miller of Hartford, CT.
Merry Christmas to all and to all…GOD'S CONTINUED BLESSING!
O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, O come let us adore
him, Christ the Lord
Glory to God in the Highest
Luke's Gospel tells us so beautifully of the birth of Christ, giving us details
and elements so that we might know and believe that a savior is born to us.
The first reading we heard from the prophet Isaiah was written 800 years
before Christ was born. This prophecy…this promise from God, foretells
the birth of Jesus, proclaiming the good news that a great savior will be
given us and he shall be called: Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-
Forever, Prince of Peace…and the world waited patiently…waiting for
salvation to be born amongst us.
The time of Advent has ended, and on this Holy night we are reminded in
the feast of Christmas that Christ the savior is born. With his birth the
manifestation of God's love is made evident in the world.
For those of us who believe that the greatest gift is the gift of love,
Christmas is the ultimate and most intimate expression there is. The child
in the manger, is not the end or even the object of this holy time; the child is
the means whereby God's love is presented to the people whom he loves.
The birth of Jesus is many, many things, it is miracle, it is mystery, it is
mercy, it is hope, it is justice, it is truth, it is the world becoming something
it could never have been on its own. It is all of that but much more than
that, it is: the gift of God for the people of God. That is what Christmas is
about. Christmas is God's initiative; it is God's work… Christmas is the
reaffirmation and commitment of God's gift of love to his children.
This gift is the renewal of that love, and the maintenance of that love even
against all the forces of this dark and cold and unremitting world. It is into a
world of such darkness and despair that the gift of light and hope comes,
and it is the gift of invincible love that draws the helpless, the hopeful, the
faithful and the confused to the manger. It has done so for thousands of
years and it will do so until the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom
of our God and of his Christ.
It is with complete awe that we draw together here this evening. We gather
for many reasons, tradition, obligation, celebration, joy, blessed memories,
to recall the truth of our faith, our faith that tells us that God is born to us in
human form and saved us in human form.
We gather because we know that we must give honor and glory to God, in
our need and in our hope; for we see that at the center of our
faith we recognize that through the lowliness of a stable, in poverty and in
desperation our Lord came into this world.
Tonight we recall that God gave birth to a gift of love and salvation in the
human form of the baby Jesus. Tonight we accept and embrace his gift of
love and salvation. For that is truly what we honor and celebrate this
evening; that for us God became flesh, and that flesh called the world to a
radical, life-changing, spiritual love. It is this same life altering love that can
be born in us. A love that only the Holy Spirit can give…The same love
that Mary bore in the human form of her son Jesus Christ can be born in us
in spiritual form made real.
A loving Christ was born in the small city of Bethlehem, a city that was
known as the least of the great cities in Israel. The love of Christ can also
be made manifest in this small Catholic Church in the least part of Hartford,
in the least and smallest part of every one of us.
So, on this Christmas Eve when our hearts are quieted by the magnitude of
God's great love toward us, we are reminded that the greatness of God is
seen in the wonder of the ordinary and in the small; the miracle of God, is
that he can make much out of nothing and something out of almost
anything. A little town becomes the focus of the world's last hope; a little
baby comes to oppose the forces of Caesar and fear; and human flesh and
human life are dignified and made whole as never before. The test of God's
power is not in his capacity to move mountains, stop mighty storms, or
taking walks atop water. No. God's power is in his capacity to make much
of little, for that is what he does in creation, that is what he does at
Christmas, and that is what he does with you and me.
Christmas lends itself so easily to images and sentiment. We need our
images and sentiment, but Christmas does not belong to sentiment, an
ideal, or even a feeling about God. Christmas belongs to those who
recognize not the sense of the Holidays but the real presence of God in
their lives and in the world, not simply once upon a time long, long ago and
far, far away but here and now, inhabiting our hearts and struggling with us
against the difficult realities that surround and inflict us in this world and in
The world of little Bethlehem was real, Caesar Augustus was real, Herod
was real, taxation was real, death and slaughter was real, despair was real
and normal; and in the midst of all this God had to be made real, and was
made real not in an ideal but in the flesh, for that is what the incarnation
was and is, and that is why we bow before its presence" God is with us," for
that is what Emmanuel means. It is not just a translation of a Hebrew name
but a translation of the living, loving purpose of God to be present in and
among his creation. God does not abandon that which he makes; he
becomes one with us that we might become one with him.
So we join with him and with one another in this feast of feasts on this night
of nights, this most holy night, for the gift of the Incarnation continues in the
fellowship that we have with Christ around his Holy Table. In these most
ordinary, these most tangible creatures of bread and wine, flesh and
blood, we become at one with him, who for us became one in us.
Every time a baby is born, God endorses his world; and every time we
celebrate Holy Communion we experience once again his Incarnation. The
miracle of Christmas: is more than a star, or singing angels, the wondering
shepherds, the lovely mother, or the exotic kings, It is more than a cold
wintry night, it is more than hopes and fears. The miracle of Christmas is
that on this Holy Night, God cared enough to send us himself, and that he
continues to do so in the gift of love.
And so It takes the courage of faith that exists within your hearts and souls
and minds so that God's gift of love can and must be made manifest
through you. Don't ever forget that…don't ever, ever forget …you are a gift
May our blessed and Holy God put his loving, healing arms around you
this day and forever more..Blessing you and those you love…
O come let us adore him !